Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Sidebar: widgets, email, and searching

I am done adding sidebar widgets to the blog (honest). Rebecca set up our gmail account last week and now that we have an official Library Cloud email address, creating the widgets requiring email verification is complete. Widgets we chose to display by no means exhaust the wide variety of items available, but they do meet a few requirements we determined would be nice to have. Here is a quick list of the chosen few, and what we hope to gain from adding them to Library Cloud.
  • WorldCat Beta
    Just for fun! We are librarians after all and having a catalog search seemed right.
  • Technorati Search Box
    As a way to sort and tag the blog, something that using blogger beta will accomplish, adding Technorati tags to posts will allow users to find other blogs using the same tags we have selected. The search box is in addition to the Blogger "search this blog." After claiming the blog at Technorati, we will also be able to pull up statistics on other blogs linking here and our status in the blogosphere.
  • ZoomClouds
    My current favorite widget, ZoomCloud not only creates a word cloud for the blog, but also details statistics on our account. Clicking on a word in our cloud takes readers to other existing blog posts using that keyword/tag. The stats show number of clicks on a tag and from what country the click originated. Filters are available to remove words from the cloud (nice).
  • StatsCounter
    As the title suggests, we are able to use this for statistics. StatsCounter places a small icon on the blog to compliment the code attached. It will compile number of hits, returning visits, and page reloads. Additionally, it will detail visitor paths so we may see how people are arriving at the blog. The free version will log 100 visit stats before rewriting over the first visits. We are able to have weekly stats emailed, so the rollover should not affect things much. I was initially concerned it would continue to log our publish and posting statistics; this afternoon I found out a blocker cookie could be created for my computer negating my loads. Cool.
  • Google Calendar
    This widget was a whim, an add-on accompanying our email account. It's possible to place an events calendar on blogs and/or web pages. Right now ours has library related dates and conferences.
  • LibraryThing
    Discussed in a previous post, LibraryThing is a free online catalog. The first of two LT widgets on this blog will show covers of titles we have added to the Library Cloud collection, the second allows anyone interested to search the collection.

So, that is our widget collection to date. Feel free to offer suggestions for others, but at this point we are widgeted out!

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